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There is a lot going in my life right now that I can’t share here.  It’s too personal.  But it’s good.

What I can tell you is that I am happy.

I never thought I would ever meet this mystical beast ever again, but here it is, showing up in my day and making me smile for no good reason.

Not the legendary, mythical HAPPY that we all hear about in fairytales.

But the happy that comes from lifting your eyes from the floor and seeing that life is really not so bad.
OK even.

I have chosen to believe that my one-sided conversations with Greg are really two sided and that he is letting me know what he thinks and feels about things.

Case in point ….
I had an attack of the “uglies” the other day.  Not that I am a particularly vain person, but the last time I allowed myself to be vulnerable to another human (other than Greg) was when I was 22 years old and 22 years younger than I am now.
Growing up, I had two grandmothers who were determined that vanity was not a sin I would ever have and so they both managed to convince me that I was a “solid” girl who was plain.  I don’t hold it against them – that was the thinking back then.  But I wished I’d listened to my mother who told me what a beauty I was.
Anyhooo  – there I was, having an attack of the uglies last Friday night when I decided to look in a cupboard that contained yet more of Greg’s “stuff”.  … and I found a motherload of his old photos.
He had photos from the night we met (I looked shy and a bit lost) and he had photos from our early dating life that I had never seen.  I looked young and fresh and positvely beautiful.  Certainly not “solid” or “plain”.
…and he had a couple of photos of me (and he) all dolled up at a friend’s wedding that were positively smokin’ hot!

…and just like that, the “uglies” went away and I knew that my boy had shown me what he saw when he looked at me.

So yeah – happy.
It doesn’t come in with a fanfare and a show of light.
It sneaks up on you and surprises you when you think it has gone for ever…

The small things

The little things

….  that annoy me (and drive me to drink).

Hello Mr Baileys…

Warning – disorganised tiredness and general whining follows…..

Somedays I think being a widow has taught me patience, but there are other days when I realise my fuse is very short and I have no time for pedants and things that make my life harder.

I question why, instead of helping to simplify my life, so many different things are trying to take another piece of me that I just don’t have to give.

Why can’t my son’s school accept my e-mailed “OK, please bill me” as an acceptance of a fee?  Why does it require a signature for $3.50?  Why does it send me five invoices totallying about $20 instead of one single invoice?

Or why the Department of Transport is only open during office hours making it hard for me to get my driver’s license renewal photo.

Or why my boss is insisting I set personal goals as a way of modelling to my students that we all have goals:  if I have been taught anything from being suddenly widowed, it is that living day to day and rolling with the punches is the only way to cope with life. (I have made up a goal that I will fluff my way  through and they will know I am faking it.   It will suck but my boss will be appeased.)

I wonder if these petty little things would still get to me if I had Greg here….. letting me talk things over or letting me deal with the bills and the school issues and doing one of the other eleventy million jobs that I have on my plate right now
hmmmm ……. plate … that reminds me that I must go and cook my children dinner.  But maybe I can have a little wine with my whine while I make it…..

Am I just turning into a cranky person, or does anyone else have days like this?

Lesser Losses

Lesser Losses

When the children were small, I convinced Greg that we should get some pets so that the children could learn about life cycles early in life.  They would experience the love and  loss of a pet and understand that everything that lives must die.

So Greg captured some pullets from themany of chooks at the farm back in 2006.
These were hardy farm birds whose toughness was only matched by their wiliness in egg-laying.

Then we rescued a couple of extra chicks from a school hatching program who proved to be eggselent layers.  They formed our egg-laying flock who have been Queens of the yard for the past seven years.

Today, the second of those less-hardy younger hens was found dead in her pen.

The children found her and  cried, and to my surprise … prayed.
Their grief was so much more real than I could have expected given the losses they have already endured.

and I cried . …… and swore.

Maybe its irrational, but I cried and swore that instead of being the soft-entry to the knowledge of life and death for our children that I had planned, so many beloved family members died in stark, brutal, heart-breaking ways before any of our pets.

My previously fit, healthy Father-in-law died from cancer in 2007.

My Mother-in-law died in 2009, also of cancer.  ….. and a broken heart.

Exactly one year to the day after his mother left us, Greg died.

Then my very elderly Nan died (not unexpectedly) in 2011.

So while today  I mourn the loss of a much-loved family pet*, it has brought back those memories of a time when the idea that any of our family could possibly die before a short-lived pet was unthinkable.

The irony.  Oh, the irony of it all.

* – I am not saying the loss of a pet is equal to that of a human. I love animals, but I love people more.

Four Years

Four years

Four years since you left me.

Nobody could possibly begin to understand the soul connection we had.
Anam Cara.
We two were so closely linked.

…and yes, I know we are still connected.

I have learnt to recognise the signs you send me.
I know you are near.
I know you miss nothing.

I am lucky that intuition comes naturally to me.
You always said that I could “feel” whether people were good or bad.
I can’t explain it.
I just “know” things.
Like what you were about to say, or what you were thinking.
Or how my soul knew yours as soon as it saw you, standing there in the backyard of a friend’s house.
Or how I knew that we would marry from that first kiss.

Or how I had a premonition of your death, right before your death.

I have  realised that you have never left me, that you hear me, that you are actively leading me forward.
… to a new life.
…to the people I needed to meet.
…towards the light.
… Towards hope.

…and my love for you is stronger than ever.

The Death March #4

The death march part 4: signs

Angel Danbo  by grizzlysghost
Angel Danbo by the immensely talented and all-round nice guy Aaron Aldrich

Here I am in the final week of the death march.  March 1 is racing towards me like a freight train.
To be honest, it can’t come soon enough so I can put it behind me and then maybe my subconscious won’t feel the need to see 2am come in each day.

But 2am has seen me think about all the signs I have received …. some of them, even before March 1, 2010.  I am not going to list them here, but I will say that there have been so many, many specific instances of contact that I can not ignore them.
…and on talking to others, it seems I am not the only one who knows, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that they are here with us.

As many of you know, before I was a teacher, I was a scientist.
I have a PhD and a string of other qualifications.
I am trained to be skeptical of anything that can’t be backed up with hard data.
….. but at the same time, I am trained to entertain novel ideas and I am trained to understand that just because something can’t be measured with current technology, it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.
But then again, I have always had a Bayesian weight-of-evidence view of science over and empirical one.

….and for me, for my own personal beliefs, the weight of evidence is overwhelming.  It may not be overwhelming enough to withstand peer review and publication, but then I don’t really care how others view the eternal .

So as I sit here, writing the last of the death march posts, I remind myself of my own, hard-won knowledge that he never left me and is part of my life everday.

The Death March #3

The death march part 3: birthday week

Zen Garden  by grizzlysghost

Zen garden by the immensely talented and all-round nice guy, Aaron Aldrich.

So – only one more week (and a few days) until March 1.
Only three more days until his birthday.

Still the nightmares about the accident.  

Still that vivid mental image of how his arm looked in his work shirt contrasted with the smashed watch and phone that were given back to me.

Still the crying at odd times.

Still stressed about work….

… but

still …. Fine
I know I am teetering on the edge of “fine”  and “f#cked-up” though.

I know it won’t take much to make me lose my balance and go tumbling down the rabbit hole.

I am hoping that there isn’t that One Single Straw that floats onto my back to break me into small pieces.

But so far ……

Still fine.


The death march #2

The Death March Part 2

Starstruck by grizzlysghost
 Starstruck by the immensely talented and all-round nice guy, Aaron Aldrich.

So I am still feeling mostly …. fine.

A few extra tears have crept in though.  Not those snot drenched sobs that come from my guts and leave me heaving and shaking, but the silent, delicate raindrops that leak from the corner of my eye as I remember all he was and all I have lost.

I seem to dwell more on the mechanics of how he died at this time of year.

It still kills me that I kissed him goodbye at 7am, just like I did every single day ….. and never saw him again.

It still kills me inside to know that there was nobody there but his workmate (who died shortly afterwards) as his life and consciousness drained away with all that blood.

It still kills me that I didn’t insist on spending time alone with his body before the funeral.
He was so badly hurt that everyone from the policemen who attended the scene to the mortuary assistant were all adamant that I could NOT see him.  At all.  Not even his hand.

It kills me that I had to tell my very small children that their beloved Daddy had died.  I can still remember them looking at me like I must have been playing some sort of mean trick.

It still kills me that instead of feeling the love that I know was being poured on me, I felt hundreds of pairs of eyes boring into my skull as I entered the church at his funeral.

It kills me that I never looked up from the carpet to see the packed church and all the people who loved him.  I saw only my children, my family, my best friends, the ministers (there were three of them) and the screen that failed to capture his essence in pictures.

But despite all my regrets, he remains dead.
I don’t get a do-over, nor do I want one.

….and that’s where I am in this part of the death march…..

The Death March

The death march

 (Danbo photo – source unknown)

Well here I find myself in February again – his birthday coming up and then March 1 looms large at the end of this month.
This year, so far, I am feeling ….. fine.

I don’t expect that this will last the whole month.
It could just take one single let-down or piece of bad news and I am bound to lose it.
But so far …… fine.


Just the letters in this word seemed so foreign to me just 1 year ago.  ….and almost 4 years ago, I couldn’t even imagine that I would me sitting here, feeling …. fine.

I will keep you posted as we travel through this month ….. but as of right now?

Not exactly good.
Not exactly bad.
Not exactly desperate.
Not exactly OK.
Not exactly happy.
Not exactly miserable.


Things that have changed

Things that have changed

I am sitting here, marvelling at how far I’ve come since March 1, 2010; I am a different person with the same heart.

I can now look back and remember the sharp, stabbing grief of that day.  The insanity.
The weeks and months directly  afterward where I alternated between shrieking pain and dense fog; I rocked and cried or I floated behind a thin wall, a sense of being elsewhere and detached.
The forced smile at work and the tears as I left the gate each day.
The craziness  at home.  My children  .. my poor children.
The first BirthdaysFathersDayChristmasNewYear  without him.   All the firsts.  I distinctly remember the first day I brought my children back to school afterwards and broke down at the gate, and the angel of a friend who saw me and walked me in.  She knew.


That first, aching anniversary of his death.

The depression of the seemingly endless blackhole that stretched in front of me.
The hideous instability caused by my old boss who made it harder for me than it needed to be (because he is a petty, stupid man).
The desperation that I never spoke of.  To anyone.


The feeling that I was repeating history: I would repeat my grandmother’s and my great-grandmother’s long, lonely widowhood for decades to come.

The hopelessness.  The feeling of Just Not Bothering to do more than exist for the sake of my children; there were days that their presence stood (unknowingly) between me and oblivion.  I couldn’t hurt them, so I continued on.


The reaching out to others in the widower community.  The voice that would weave across an ocean and give me ways to distract myself from misery. The women and men who wrote about their experiences and I realised that I was not alone in this pain.


Then a chink of light with a friend offering me work at a new school.  This move has changed my life for the better.  I now have a permanent job as my new boss is made of clever and awesome and fought to keep me.


And then… and then ….  the confidence to once again try dating.  For real.
….and the meeting of a person whose mind is like my own.  Whose situation is like my own and whose heart is like my own.  Healing slowly, together.


The realisation that my life is not over and that I can see a new future. A future built on hard-won battles and scars of resilience.  A future that acknowledges the injuries of the past and weaves them into its beautiful tapestry.


I have come so far since March 1, 2010.

Hello 2014

Hello 2014


A new year.
Bringing hopes and dreams for a year brighter than the last.

I remember the first new year after Greg died.
I did not want it to happen.
I hated the passage of time.
I did not want to welcome a year in which Greg had never lived.

Back in Ye Olden Days (ie – before we had children), we had a tradition of going up to a house near a lake just outside the city to celebrate the new year with our dearest friends.
The house was owned by my friend’s parents and was used solely as a holiday house.
A party house.
A place where we would gather.
With plentiful food and booze and motorbikes and books …. and the boys would ride off into the hills and my girlfriends and I would chat and read and chat and drink and chat and play pool and chat and dance and welcome the boys home and light firecrackers and roman candles and generally yahoo the night away.

Since the people who owned the house were (are) amongst our best friends, we were always lucky enough to score the second bedroom with its comfy (private) bed and en-suite whilst the others all crowded together in the large downstairs area.  …and we kept celebrating the new year once inside our romantic room IYKWIM.

Then we all seemed to have children within a few months of each other and our New Years celebrations morphed into family gatherings during daylight hours.  But still we gathered and celebrated together.

But that first year without him was spent alone.
Through choice.
I know my friends just wanted to support me, but I had to spend that time alone.
(with our children).

That was four years ago.

While I still didn’t get excited about New Year’s celebrations like I used to, I felt a change in my attitude this year.

For a start, some really good things happened in 2013.
My job finally became permanent.
My friends and family remain loving and kind, as always.
I have formed new friendships which have become an important part of my life.
For the first time since Greg died, I actually  feel positive about this new year.

In fact, I welcome it.

Hello 2014

May you bring us all Hope, Peace and Love.